Breast cancer survivor to shave head on stage during charity concert as thank-you to Macmillan and Whittington Hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:04 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:04 31 August 2018

Viv Cohen is fundraising to give back to Macmillan nurses who helped her at the Whittington. Picture: Viv Cohen

Viv Cohen is fundraising to give back to Macmillan nurses who helped her at the Whittington. Picture: Viv Cohen


A breast cancer survivor who turned serial fundraiser upon her recovery will shave her head live on stage midway through a concert for the Whittington Hospital’s Macmillan nurses.

Papa Truck are a bluegrass band who have supported Viv before. Picture: Papa TruckPapa Truck are a bluegrass band who have supported Viv before. Picture: Papa Truck

Diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2016, Viv Cohen, 46, was understandably panicked. But she told the Gazette the hospital staff were so good to her she felt compelled to give something back.

She said: “Throughout that first day it became clearer and clearer that it was breast cancer, but what was really comforting was the way the staff struck a great balance – they knew things were serious but were reassuring and able to tell me that they knew what they were doing.

“Before it had quite sunk in, they also told me I was at one of the centres of excellence for breast cancer care in the country – and that we would prevail.”

Viv, who has now recovered, is a mental health nurse in north London herself. She grew up in Archway, on the doorstop of the Whittington.

She wanted her experience to reassure anybody worried about NHS scare stories.

“Everyone was so patient and compassionate,” she said.

“What really blew my mind was the expertise and care of all of the staff there. The network of Macmillan nurses is incredible. They knew everything there was to know about my particular kind of breast cancer, about drugs and chemotherapy.

“I think mine, Lucy – who sadly no longer works there – really pulled me through.

“Anything I worried about, any problems I had I was able to ring my nurse and she would help. Nothing was too much.”

She added: “I will be forever grateful for their swift action and complete dedication to science in action.”

This is the second charity concert Viv has organised for Macmillan, and her aim this time is to beat her previous fundraising total of £3,000.

The gig, to be held on September 29 at Cecil Sharp House in Camden, will feature bluegrass band Papa Truck.

Viv’s head shave will take place midway through the show.

Tickets are available at or call 020 7485 2206.

You can also donate to Macmillan on Viv’s page here

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